Long before planes, trains and automobiles were delivering fresh fruit, year round, to our local grocery stores, fruit was preserved through a drying or dehydrating process that prevented spoilage.
Dried fruit can be a delicious tasty snack that provides sweetness to foods without adding refined sugars. However, it is very easy to over-indulge! For instance, a dried apricot is a fraction of the size of a fresh one, so when eating a handful, you may actually be eating 3-4 fresh apricots. The same goes for all fruits. It is very easy to consume high amounts of sugar in just a handful of dried fruit. Although dehydrated fruit has fewer vitamins and minerals than its fresh counterparts – primarily due to heat exposure during dehydration – they still contain some nutrition and are high in fibre.
Be aware though, that not all dried fruit is equal. Sugar is often added, especially to tart fruits like cranberries and cherries, and sulphites are added to ensure the colour stays bright. Some people may be sensitive to sulphites, especially those with allergies or asthma.
When choosing dried fruit, here are some to avoid:
Pineapple – often coated in refined sugar
Banana Chips – often deep fried and sweetened
Cranberries – almost always require sugar due to their tartness
Dried fruit can be a great addition to your breakfast, and can be incorporated in a variety of ways, just remember to avoid fruits with added sugars and to keep the servings small.